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Clarence Thomas Warns He’s Coming For All Your Rights (Except Guns)

A new analysis is breaking down Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg explained how Thomas' remarks appear to suggest that the abortion ban could only be the beginning of the conservative attack on civil rights.

According to Stolberg, Thomas "laid out a vision that fomented fears about what other rights could disappear: The same rationale that the Supreme Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, he said, should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations, and same-sex marriage."

Although Justice Samuel A. Alito's majority opinion insists the ruling on abortion “should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” Stolberg emphasized that Thomas also argued that the court's majority does not view abortion as "a form of 'liberty' protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution."

She went on to note three cases that he used as an example to support his arguments as they were ruled upon according to the same line of reasoning. Stolberg noted that Thomas "took aim at three other landmark cases that relied on that same legal reasoning: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case invalidating sodomy laws and making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry."

She continued, "Justice Thomas wrote that the court 'should reconsider' all three decisions, saying it had a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents. Then, he said, after 'overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions” protected the rights they established.'"


Stolberg noted that Thomas' language is a prime example of the epitome of what abortion and LGBTQ advocates have expressed concern about. Advocates have repeatedly warned that the overturn of Roe v. Wade would only be the beginning of a conservative attack that could subsequently lead to attacks on "the right to contraception and same-sex marriage."

The critical assessment of Thomas' remarks comes as the liberal SCOTUS justices also express their dissent regarding the unprecedented ruling. As reports began circulating about the ruling, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan weighed in with their remarks

“With sorrow ― for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection ― we dissent,” wrote Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

The statement comes in wake of conservative justices' ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which will subsequently regress federal abortion laws back nearly half a century.

“Today, the Court discards that balance,” the justices wrote. “It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

GOP Congressional Candidate: Hitler ‘Is The Kind Of Leader We Need Today’

Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino appeared on a radio program last year and claimed that New York needs someone like Adolf Hitler to lead it. In the newly unearthed remarks, Paladino said he'd recently heard someone talk about how Hitler had “aroused the crowds” -- and he commented that “that's the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranked Republican in the House, has endorsed Paladino’s campaign, calling him a “friend” and “conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter.”

Paladino is a businessman and Republican politician who has appeared as a commentator on media outlets, including Fox News and Fox Business. He also briefly hosted a podcast. Paladino announced his congressional campaign for New York’s 23rd Congressional District last week after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs dropped his reelection bid.

Paladino has a long history of making toxic and bigoted remarks. Media Matters reported earlier this week that he shared a post on Facebook portraying the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, as false flag attacks meant to help Democrats “revoke the 2nd amendment and take away guns.” The post also claimed “the Texas shooter was receiving hypnosis training” apparently under the direction of the CIA.

He initially responded to media attention to his post by lying that he didn’t personally share it and he doesn’t “even know how to post on Facebook.” Paladino later admitted that he posted it. Media outlets also reported that Paladino sent the post to his email list.

His commentary has also included saying his state needs someone like Adolf Hitler to lead it.

Paladino appeared on the February 13, 2021, edition of The r-House Radio Show, a weekly radio program that airs on WBEN in Buffalo, New York. The program is hosted by real estate executive Peter Hunt.

During the show, Hunt asked Paladino how to “rouse the population” and get people thinking about change.

Paladino replied: “I was thinking the other day about somebody had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds. And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him. That's, I guess, I guess that's the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it.”

Here is that exchange:

PETER HUNT (HOST): We've been talking a lot about politics here today, this morning, Carl. And I know that that's obviously near and dear to your heart. And you've taken, you've taken real action. And a lot — like you were saying earlier, many people don't voice their opinion or just become, see it as utter futility. How do you rouse the population? How do you get people thinking about the possibility of change here in New York state and what that might mean for our, for everyone here?

CARL PALADINO: I was thinking the other day about somebody had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds. And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him. That's, I guess, I guess that's the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it, so that it’s not a strange new world to him. I look around at the politicians that we've elected locally and I, I just can’t [unintelligible] on a federal level, I can't get comfortable with the RINO-ism. And on a state level, we — our Republicans are sound asleep. They're not an anti-government group. They don't get up with new press releases to comment on this issue, comment on that issue. I mean, there should be a debate going on in the newspaper every day.

Paladino’s remark about Hitler came roughly 38 minutes into the show, which ran for approximately 49 and a half minutes. He did not return to talking about Hitler.

In 2010, Paladino compared support for gay marriage to the evils of Nazi Germany. During those remarks, Paladino said that “there are some things in this world that we must all be angry about. During World War II, all decent people were angry at Hitler's extermination of six million Jews in the gas chambers of Aushwitz.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Michigan Judge’s Assassin Was Far-Right Trumpist, But Not Militia Member

When a retired Wisconsin judge was murdered in his home in the town of New Lisbon last Friday by a Trump supporter who shot himself but survived, police found a “hit list” on his person indicating he intended to target a number of prominent politicians. A Milwaukee radio station, WTMJ, reported that “sources close to the investigation” had identified the killer as a member of a militia group.

These reports set off a wave of concerns that the killing heralded a wave of militia-organized assassinations looming on the national landscape. Many of those concerns now appear somewhat overblown: The killer appears to have primarily targeted the judge because the latter sentenced him to six years in prison in 2005, and he doesn’t appear to have been active in any militia groups or even advocated for them.

However, the more we learn about 56-year-old Douglas K. Uhde, the clearer it becomes that his act was both personal retribution and deeply political—and emblematic of a more general and widespread threat of radicalized anti-government extremism.

The retired judge, 68-year-old John Roemer, was at his home when Uhde arrived, gun in hand, on Friday morning. Roemer’s son was asleep in a second bedroom when he saw Uhde through a window approach the house with his gun, though Uhde didn’t see him; the son then climbed out the window and ran to a neighbor’s house, where he called a 911 dispatcher.

When police arrived and were at the door, they spoke with Uhde while he was still inside and tried to negotiate with him. After Uhde fell silent, they rushed inside and found him in the basement with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, but still alive; they summoned medical help, and he was transported to a local hospital, where he remains in custody.

There was no reason to summon help for Judge Roemer, who police found in the kitchen, shot in the head. He had been zip tied to a dining-room chair.

As Uhde was being transported to the hospital, police went through his clothing and found a political “hit list,” whose full contents have not been disclosed. Among the people on it, according to police sources, were Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Roemer was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016. He retired in 2017.

Evers angrily denounced Roemer’s killing. “I mean, the idea that, as I said before, a judge from a rural county is targeted and murdered, it’s just abhorrent to our judiciary and to leadership in our state and our county,” he said. “It’s a horrible situation. I grieve for him. I grieve for his family. And God, we can do better than this in Wisconsin."

Whitmer, as it happens, had already been targeted by a Michigan militia group that plotted to kidnap and execute her—although a jury acquitted two of the men accused in the plot. Combined with the report that Uhde was connected to militias, the judge’s murder raised immediate concerns of a broader, perhaps organized, plan by the extremist right to assassinate public officials.

“In a country as divided and angry as the United States is today, it’s surprising that more assassinations haven’t occurred,” wrote David Graham in The Atlantic. “Perhaps this one is a sign of what’s to come.”

A number of details have subsequently emerged that tend to ameliorate these concerns. Notably, it turned out that Roemer, a longtime Juneau County Circuit Court jurist, had sentenced Uhde to six years in prison in 2005 as the culmination of a complicated series of appeals involving Uhde’s long criminal record, which included armed burglary with a dangerous weapon, possessing a short-barreled shotgun, and carrying a concealed weapon. Uhde later escaped custody briefly and was charged with felony escape, and then was charged with eluding an officer in a vehicle in 2007.

Moreover, journalists who spoke with Uhde’s friends and neighbors uniformly reported that, while Uhde was a flaming antigovernment extremist, none of them were aware of any connection to a militia group. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that most people acquainted with Uhde said he “bristled at any kind of authority” and was “antigovernment,” but none knew of any militia associations.

Likewise, Heavy interviewed a man at Uhde’s last listed address who said he knew him well. Asked about Uhde’s relation to militias, the man answered that Uhde “knew how to hunt, fish, make a fire,” but he never saw him do anything “really militia-related.”

“He’s a Trump supporter. He was an obvious Republican,” the man said.

Heavy also surveyed Uhde’s social-media output and similarly found that, while he regularly posted far-right memes and directed violent rhetoric at Democratic politicians, he never promoted militias or “Patriot” movement ideology, or indicated any kind of affiliation with such ideologies. He did sometimes dabble in Patriot conspiracism, including posts about “FEMA camps” and looming martial law.

There was no shortage of extremism. “Make America great again, duct tape this lying b****’s mouth shut,” read a meme Uhde that shared in October 2016 showing Hillary Clinton with her mouth duct-taped.

He also promoted Trumpist “Stop the Steal” lies, including those with antisemitic undertones. “We the People demand George Soros to remove his voting machines from all states!” read one of the memes he posted. Others expressed fears about gun confiscation. In another Facebook post, Uhde urged people to vote for Trump because he is not controlled by government. “Trump is my president,” read another meme.

So while it is unlikely that Roemer’s assassination heralds a wave of organized militia-based killings—a very specific but narrow kind of threat—it is certainly reflective of a threat that arises from a much broader bandwidth of right-wing extremism: The likelihood that antigovernment conspiracism can and will unleash unpredictable violence at nearly anyone in public service, and the public as well.

We already have seen the power of Trumpism to compel its adherents into acts of violence. This is not a phenomenon that has receded since his presidency, but indeed seems to be intensifying.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Far Right Promotes 'False Flag' Conspiracy Claim On Mass Shootings

Fringe right-wing media figures are pushing baseless conspiracy theories that the recent deadly mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were “false flag” operations orchestrated by the United States government to take away civil rights from American citizens.

Buffalo

The mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, left 10 Black people dead. The suspect in the mass shooting allegedly wrote a hateful manifesto that repeatedly cited the fascist “great replacement” conspiracy theory as a motive for violence against Black people. The great replacement theory has become a staple of Tucker Carlson and Fox News’ coverage of minority groups and immigration.

Shortly after the shooting in Buffalo, Arizona Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers posted on the white nationalist-affiliated social media site Gab that the shooting was conducted by federal agents, rather than an 18-year-old racist.

Rogers’ comments were only the start of a flurry of false flag conspiracy theories that followed these shootings:

On the May 16 edition of Alex Jones’ show on Infowars, Jones claimed the Buffalo grocery store shooting was a staged event. Jones attempted to link the Buffalo shooting to the Unabomber, pushing the conspiracy theory that “The unabomber worked for the CIA,” and asserted that he knows “how the globalists operate and I know who they wind up and I know what they do.”

Militia-linked radio host and right-wing extremist Pete Santilli claimed during his May 27 radio show that the CIA and FBI radicalized, hypnotized, and indoctrinated the shooter through his computer screen via “mind control” and “screen flicker technology” to commit the shooting. Santilli proclaimed that the shooter “was copying and pasting” his racist manifesto “from the CIA and the FBI” and that “they helped him do it over a two year period.”

White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes posted a video to his streaming website after the Buffalo shooting with the title “False Flag Confirmed: Buffalo Shooter Groomed to Kill by FBI Agent.”

During the video, Fuentes asserted that the mass shooting was “done by or permitted to go on by law enforcement.”

Former Infowars host, QAnon conspiracy theorist, and failed congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine suggested that the Buffalo shooting “could just be all just a false flag to target the white guy.”

Lorraine also declared that the shooting was “yet another false flag” to target white conservatives who live stream events and wear tactical gear. (The Buffalo shooter live-streamed the tragedy on Twitch and wore tactical gear.)

QAnon influencer RedPill78 argued that the shooting “is very emblematic of attacks that we’ve seen in the past where federal agents are involved and they urge these people on to commit an attack or to do something that is outside the boundaries of the law that is then going to be used to try to take away more of our rights.”

RedPill78 continued, claiming, “These people, in my opinion, would not be dead if it wasn’t for the FBI convincing this disturbed young man to go out and commit this heinous act.”

Uvalde

On May 24, another mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, ended with 19 children and two teachers dead. The constantly changing narratives and information from the Uvalde police about the timeline of the shooting have sparked criticism and indignation, feeding into conspiracy theories about the event.

During the May 25 edition of Infowars’ The Alex Jones Show, Jones agreed with a caller who suggested that the Uvalde shooting was a false flag event. Jones said that the timing of the attack was “very suspicious” and that “everybody should be able to question this because there's been so many false flags, so many provocateured operations.”

Fuentes suggested that the elementary school shooting was a false flag operation because “40 police officers showed up on the scene of the mass shooting while it was in progress” and “waited outside the school for 40 minutes for the shooting to be finished.”

Fuentes proclaimed that the police waited for the shooting to end before entering the classroom in order to push a “gun control agenda.”

QAnon conspiracy theorist, antisemite, and failed congressional candidate Lauren Witzke suggested that the Uvalde mass shooting was a false flag operation intended to “change the public narrative” around Texas’ politics because “Hispanics are starting to lean more conservative and these people are crazy, midterms are coming up.”

On May 27, QAnon influencer Jordan Sather proclaimed that it looks like the event was “orchestrated.”

Why This Matters

Right-wing media has a long history of claiming that acts of violence are false flags orchestrated by the federal government and outside forces. Conspiracy theorists often suggest that fabricated attacks are a tool the opposition uses to drive their own political agenda and shape the narrative around a certain topic.

Extremists also use these “false flag” tragedies and events to distract from their culpability in problems like the proliferation of white supremacy or the gun control impasse, and to push their audiences further from reality. Some right-wing media figures have a history of using lies and conspiracy theories about these tragic events to attack and harass mass shooting survivors and their families. Survivors from both the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings became victims again when conspiracy theorists spread debunked claims about these traumatic incidents.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

White Nationalists Praise Tucker Carlson For Mainstreaming Their Ideology

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is drawing praise from white nationalist outlets for mainstreaming their “great replacement” conspiracy theory after a white supremacist allegedly killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York, in a massacre apparently inspired by it. The Fox star has drawn compliments from the notorious former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and been toasted by racist outlets like VDare and American Renaissance for bringing their message to his millions of viewers.

Carlson emerged over the last several years as the nation’s most prominent champion of the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which posits that a sinister elite cabal (often led by Jews) is trying to destroy the white race by using immigration policy to replace white Americans with nonwhite migrants. The Fox host kept the conspiracy theory’s superstructure intact while sanitizing it for mass consumption by swapping out key terms: Carlson describes “the great replacement” as a plot by President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, and the Jewish financier George Soros to ensure permanent political dominance and destroy the country by using immigration policy to replace “legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries.”

Both iterations are utterly false, with Carlson’s based on his typical practice of stripping videos of Democrats from context and lying about what they said. But Carlson’s bosses, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, have stood by him as his bigoted commentary drew controversy, with Lachlan at one point even claiming that the host had actually “rejected replacement theory” – a lie that Carlson correctly took as a green light to continue.

White nationalists, who praised Carlson’s show almost since its launch in 2016 and described him as “literally our greatest ally,” have lauded Carlson’s repackaging of replacement theory. They point out that the Fox host is bringing their precepts to a huge national audience, and indeed, several of Carlson’s colleagues and many Republican politicians have followed his lead, integrating the white supremacist conspiracy theory into right-wing dogma.

Carlson’s role promoting the “great replacement” theory drew new attention following the Buffalo mass shooting, but he and his employer remain undeterred. Carlson and his colleagues lashed out at the network’s critics, while his allies tried to draw distinctions between the purportedly non-racist version of great replacement theory he uses and its white supremacist source material.

Carlson, his supporters, and the Murdochs may play dumb about what the host is doing when he invokes “the great replacement.” But white nationalists understand that he is injecting their ideas into the heart of the Republican Party by airing their talking points in a more palatable, less explicitly racist form for a mass audience.

Duke: “Incredible” Carlson is “the only voice that gets out some of the information” but he “can't say there is a war on white people”

Duke highlighted Carlson’s “incredible” May 17 monologue, in which the Fox host again promoted the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, on his radio show the following day.

“I like Tucker Carlson,” Duke later added. “I'm thankful for many of the things that he says. I also disagree with him on a number of points, but I think overall, he's the only voice that gets out some of the information at all.”

The former Klansman – who has previously suggested that Carlson is using his own talking points in discussing “the replacement of legacy Americans” – went on to explain that Carlson puts forward the same ideas as white supremacists like him but “can’t really say it” using the same words.

“He himself is reluctant to use the word ‘white’ unless he quotes other people saying ‘white.’ You can talk about – we can talk about a ‘demographic war.’ But he can't really say it like we can,” Duke said of Carlson. “He can't say there is a war on white people, and there is – there is a war against the white race.”

Duke also bemoaned that Carlson never spells out what Duke claimed is the common thread between “people he mentions like” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the heads of social media giants, and the “neocons that bring us into these terrible wars” (for Duke, a virulent antisemite who was in the middle of an anti-Jewish rant, the key commonality is obviously that they are all Jews).

White nationalists at VDare.com and American Renaissance have also celebrated Carlson’s crucial role in spreading their message to Republican politicians and voters, and have praised everyone involved in mainstreaming their vile idea for refusing to buckle under criticism from Democrats and the press.

VDare.com: Carlson is “heroic,” helped take “great replacement” from “fringes of the right” to “Republican consensus”

Peter Brimelow, the white nationalist founder and editor of VDare.com, wrote in a May 16 piece for his virulent anti-immigrant site that the alleged Buffalo shooter (whose actions Brimelow says he deplores) was motivated by “serious racial concerns.” Brimelow goes on to state that “the Great Replacement is not a ‘theory’—it is a fact.”

“The Ruling Class’s problem is not that guerrilla Dissident Right websites, and the heroic Tucker Carlson, have Noticed the Great Replacement,” the sometime Murdoch employee wrote. “It is that the Great Replacement is undeniably happening—and that it is the result of Federal Government policy.”

Carlson’s role drew a more detailed analysis in a Sunday VDare.com piece by Washington Watcher II, a pseudonymous “DC insider” who writes for the site and whose thesis is that “great replacement” rhetoric is now rampant throughout the Republican Party, thanks in part to Carlson.

Washington Watcher II wrote that Schumer and other Democrats are using the shooting to criticize the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and Carlson, who “talks about it regularly and influences Republican politicians.” But to the writer, that effort is doomed because “great replacement” is “not a fringe idea anymore, but instead part of mainstream discussion in GOP circles.”

After listing prominent Republicans who have used “great replacement” rhetoric, the writer credited Fox’s star host: “Ordinary Republicans—possibly and partly because of Carlson—believe the Great Replacement is real.”

Washington Watcher II praised Carlson and Republican leaders for “showing some backbone” following criticism from Democrats and the press, adding, “Several conservatives defend Carlson and others and say the Great Replacement is an obvious truth. … And many of the major figures accused of spreading this ‘dangerous’ theory—Carlson, [Ohio GOP Senate nominee J.D.] Vance, [Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake] Masters, and [Texas Lt. Gov. Dan] Patrick—stayed on message through the last week.”

The VDare.com piece concluded: “The Great Replacement is no longer an idea consigned to the fringes of the right. It’s part of the new Republican consensus on border security and immigration. As well it should be. Maybe the Historic American Nation stands a chance, after all.”

American Renaissance: Progressives don’t want Carlson to “inspire young whites to resist replacement”

Carlson also drew plaudits from writers at American Renaissance, another prominent white nationalist website, following the Buffalo shooting.

In a May 19 screed, D.F. Mulder responded to critics of the Fox host by vouching for Carlson’s non-racist credentials and suggesting that those critics want to thwart his ability to “inspire young whites” to take action against their purported replacement.

“Tucker Carlson carefully avoids anything racist. He denounces racism and insists that he judges individuals by their character,” Mulder wrote, adding that “America’s ruling class” is made up of “anti-white zealots.”

“The regime opposes Mr. Carlson, not because he is a ‘racist,’ but because he thwarts their plans. It cannot show that he has said anything probably untrue,” including about “replacement theory,” Mulder added. “The power structure’s opposition to Mr. Carlson is not about truth. It is about the effects of his words, which might inspire young whites to resist replacement rather than disappearing quietly.”

Mulder concluded that in the face of this “ruling class”: “Anyone with any virtue will resist. Some will protest with money, others with pens, and still others — alas, but inevitably — with guns. Resistance is inevitable.”

“Gregory Hood” similarly wrote in a May 18 piece for the site that “the greatest threats to European-Americans are people within our borders” and that “The Great Replacement” is occurring. He praised National Review editor Rich Lowry for defending Carlson’s version of replacement theory and warned that progressives “want more censorship, especially of Tucker Carlson.”

“Hood” further wrote that “leftists … openly celebrate The Great Replacement of whites,” which he suggests is a genocide, and demands that conservatives “fight it.” He concluded: “Whites deserve political representation and legal equality in the country we built. If we don’t get it, we can expect no place in this country. We need to start building a place of our own.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2020 that “Gregory Hood” is a pseudonym for Kevin DeAnna, described as a “prolific white nationalist blogger” and “an early leader and ideological architect of the alt-right” who helped pioneer the insult “cuckservative.”

DeAenna’s piece about the Buffalo massacre is subtitled “Republicans need allies. They need us.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Study: Hundreds Of GOP Elected Officials In Extremist Facebook Groups

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

“The ideas of the far right have moved pretty substantially into the mainstream,” Devin Burghart, IREHR’s executive director, told Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, “not only as the basis for acts of violence but as the basis for public policy.”

This is pointedly true when it comes to “replacement theory,” the white-nationalist conspiracist narrative claiming that a nefarious cabal of globalist elites is deliberately manipulating immigration to replace white people in Western society with nonwhites—a set of beliefs that fueled Saturday’s domestic-terrorist attack on the Black community in Buffalo.

“Replacement theory” proponents, Burghart said, come from a broad bandwidth of far-right movements, and have been spread widely over the past year since Fox News’ Tucker Carlson began championing the claims. It’s also been ardently promoted by mainstream Republicans, particularly members of Congress:

  • Elise Stefanik of New York, the number three House Republican: She’s running ads accusing Democrats of “a permanent election insurrection” in the form of an immigration amnesty plan that would “overthrow our current electorate.”
  • Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus: He has claimed “we’re replacing … native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape.”
  • Matt Gaetz of Florida, a notorious Trumpist congressman: tweeted that Carlson “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory.”
  • J.D. Vance, who won the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Ohio: He claims that “Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans, with … more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”
  • Ron Johnson, the GOP senator from Wisconsin: He claims that Democrats “want to remake the demographics of America to ensure ... that they stay in power forever.”

IREHR researchers defined “far-right” groups as those advocating for changes that would significantly undermine political, social, and/or economic equality along class, racial, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, or religious lines. Groups fighting government mask and vaccination rules and other public health efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus were also included, as were 23 anti-abortion groups. It identified 789 of them.

The study identified 875 state legislators serving in the 2021-2022 legislative period who had joined these extremist Facebook books, only three of whom were Democrats. The remaining Republicans who had joined these groups constituted 21.74 percent of all Republican lawmakers in the country, and 11.85 percent of all legislators.

The states with the highest percentage of extremist legislators were Alaska (35 percent), Arkansas (25.19 percent), Idaho (22.86 percent), Montana (22.67 percent), Washington (20.41 percent), Minnesota (19.4 percent), Maine (18.28 percent), and Missouri (18.27 percent). The state with the highest total numbers of these legislators was New Hampshire (62), followed by Pennsylvania (40), Minnesota (39), Missouri (36), Arizona (34), Montana (34), Maine (34), Georgia (32), Washington (30), and Maryland (27).

As the report explores in detail—particularly in its profiles of individual extremist legislators, such as Washington state’s Jim Walsh and New Hampshire’s Susan DeLemus—these lawmakers’ far-right politics naturally translate into extremist legislation. The report connects them with a surge in legislation seeking to limit access to the ballot, restrict the rights of LGBTQ people, to limit “critical race theory” and otherwise control what public school children can learn about America’s legacy of racism, as well as to severely restrict abortion rights in their states.

“All of that stuff has been incubated in these networks,’’ Burghart said. “That rhetoric in this context becomes public policy quite quickly and those ideas not only move from the margins to the mainstream but now they’ve been codified into law in some places."

In all, the report identifies some 963 anti-human-rights bills introduced in legislative bodies by these lawmakers.

As Charlie Pierce observes at Esquire:

The point is that there is an internal coherence to all the rightist causes, as well as enthusiasm that hasn’t been there in previous incarnations. And, because of this coherence, there is a more solid political bloc that can influence the “establishment” Republicans, or intimidate them. But, in any case, it is a bloc that cannot be ignored.

Nor are the report’s authors optimistic, considering that even this clearer view of the penetration of extremism within the ranks of elected officials is still very rough and likely misses a great deal of this kind of activity: “IREHR researchers,” it notes, “believe the findings almost certainly understate the breadth of the problem.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

D’Souza’s ‘Big Lie’ Movie Is So Bad Fox Won’t Promote It

Sixteen months into Joe Biden’s presidency, far-right pundit and conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza continues to shamelessly promote the Big Lie and falsely claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump — a claim that the 61-year-old D’Souza makes in his new documentary “2000 Mules.” Journalist Anthony L. Fisher critiques “2000 Mules” in a scathing op-ed published by the Daily Beast on May 19, arguing that D’Souza’s documentary is so sloppy and badly done that even Fox News and Newsmax have ignored it.

“The new documentary 2000 Mules, a Dinesh D’Souza joint, is barely more credible than your average rando conspiracy theory video on YouTube, but its production values attach to it a superficial seriousness,” Fisher explains. “The film’s intended audience will see a rational ‘just asking questions’ kinda guy, D’Souza, talking with some ideological allies — like Charlie Kirk, Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder — who are merely concerned about voter integrity in the America they love.”

Fisher continues, “But the bulk of the film consists of D’Souza’s highly dramatized explainer sessions with a couple of technological ‘experts,’ also credited as executive producers, whose claims that they’ve used geo-tracking data to uncover thousands of vote-harvesting mules fall apart under the barest of scrutiny. Surveillance footage of people taking selfies after dropping their votes in dropboxes is presented as ‘A-ha!’ evidence — while ignoring the fact that people taking voter selfies was a mundanely common thing to do in 2020, and for quite a few years prior.”


According to Fisher, 2000 Mules suffers from “relentless repetition of innuendo” and “almost no verifiable facts.” D’Souza, Fisher notes, complains about Republicans who want to move on from the 2020 election and slams them as cowards.

“D’Souza’s whining extends beyond the film itself, and into coverage of the film,” Fisher observes. “Or in the case of Fox News and Newsmax, the lack of coverage around 2000 Mules — likely because both networks have already been sued for pushing potentially slanderous Big Lie accusations against voting technology companies. D’Souza’s white knight, Donald Trump, came to the film’s defense when he slammed Fox for ignoring ‘the greatest & most impactful documentary of our time.’ But even a Trump-supporting right-wing fire-breather like Ben Shapiro can’t bring himself to say D’Souza made a persuasive case with 2000 Mules, because the film’s central thesis simply isn’t backed by any supporting evidence — much less an overwhelming amount of verifiable, unimpeachable data.”

Someone who doesn’t already buy into the Big Lie, Fisher stresses, won’t change their mind because of 2000 Mules.

“The film isn’t meant to persuade anyone, it’s meant to reinforce the already passionate certainty in people who believe in something that simply does not exist,” Fisher writes. “It is a vile piece of agitprop, pushing a falsehood that could very well tear our country apart. It’s also a very stupid movie, packaged as smart, fearless muckraking. In a sense, it’s a 90-minute safe space for MAGA snowflakes who can’t accept the fact that their hero is a loser.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Why Boebert May Follow Cawthorn On The Far-Right Chopping Block

Rep. Madison Cawthorn's (R-N.C.) midterm election defeat has raised lots of questions about the next far-right Republican lawmaker that could be on the political chopping block.

According to a new analysis written by The Daily Beast's senior columnist, Matt Lewis, it looks like Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) may be next. In his new piece published by the Beast, he explained why he believes lightening could "strike twice."

Referencing the words of David B. Wheeler, head of the American Muckrakers PAC, Lewis noted that he'd highlighted the similarities in Cawthorn and Boebert's political landscapes.

"The districts, he says, are 'very similar' demographically. And just as Cawthorn faced a North Carolina state legislator, Boebert’s challenger is Colorado Republican state Sen. Don Coram," Lewis wrote. "There’s also a sense that neither incumbent cares about their district, but are instead more interested in their national profile."

Wheeler also highlighted another issue that may be problematic for Boebert: her personal life. “Their own personal lives seem to be an absolute mess,” Wheeler said of both Republican lawmakers.


From multiple run-ins with the law to marrying the man she'd had domestic violence disputes with Boebert has faced her fair share of personal drama.

While much of Boebert's personal turmoil has already been reported, Lewis noted the more recent issues she's faced since those previous incidents.

He wrote:

"Boebert has had plenty of brushes with the law, including a 2015 incident where she was handcuffed at a country music festival after allegedly encouraging minors being detained for underage drinking to leave police custody. Boebert reportedly told police that 'she had friends at Fox News and that the arrest would be national news.'”

Although she still managed to get elected in 2020, questions are looming about whether or not she'll be re-elected; the same types of concerns that loomed over Cawthorn's political career.

While there are some Republicans who believe campaigning in areas seen as "safe districts" will save them from defeat, Lewis explained what the latest political trend suggests.

"It won’t be easy, but it seems at least possible that Boebert will continue the trend that started last week with Cawthorn’s defeat," he wrote. "If that happens, it’s game on. Extreme politicians from “safe districts” (who have assumed the rules don’t apply to them and that they can act with impunity) will once again discover there are some expected standards of behavior—even for them."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.